Why do we need an Initiative for SARD?
Poverty, limited resources and political and social constraints have restricted the ability of rural people, in particular disadvantaged groups, to exchange and learn about, test, adapt, and replicate environmentally and socially appropriate approaches of sustainable agriculture and rural development. Disadvantaged groups, including small farmers/producers, agricultural workers, and indigenous peoples, are often unable to secure or improve their own livelihoods due to resource constraints or lack of influence over the policies, processes, and institutions that affect them, such as, in the context of globalization. Nevertheless, since Rio, significant progress has been made in the development of more equitable and effective policies, approaches, methods, and technologies for SARD, resulting in successful experiences in rural communities. These examples urgently need to be assessed, shared, adapted and scaled up to improve the lives and livelihoods of disadvantaged groups. It is because of this that the SARD Initiative has emerged. This initiative offers all stakeholders, particularly governments, an opportunity to reinvest in rural development to promote more equal benefit-sharing, reduce poverty, enhance livelihoods, and promote sustainable development.
How did the Initiative evolve?
The SARD Initiative emerged from the Dialogue on Land and Agriculture at CSD-8 in 2000 and the subsequent SARD Forum that was organized as a side event at COAG in 2001. It reflects the commitments made at the 1996 World Food Summit and the 2000 Millennium Summit, and incorporates subsequent inputs and priorities for action from the 2002 World Food Summit: five years later, an electronic conference on SARD (Good Practices for SARD, Fair Employment for Agricultural Workers, and Access to Resources (funded by the US, June 2002) and the International Conference on SARD in Mountain Regions (funded by Switzerland, June 2002).
What is new about this Initiative?
The SARD Initiative provides catalytic support to strengthen the capacities, initiatives, and innovations of farmers, fisherfolk, pastoralists, and other rural people to achieve SARD and provides a framework through which local, national and regional initiatives related to sustainable agriculture and rural development can be recognised, supported and if appropriate, replicated to contribute to improving rural livelihoods as called for in Agenda 21. The Initiative will link resources, expertise, knowledge and technologies to demands of rural communities and disadvantaged stakeholders. By upscaling lessons, successful endeavours, and approaches, the SARD initiative will help to promote wider access to, use of, and benefits from existing resources.